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Cablegate: Unhro Reports Continued Deficiencies

VZCZCXRO6121
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0009 0071507
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 071507Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7333
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000009

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PINS KDEM KJUS CG
SUBJECT: UNHRO reports continued deficiencies
in Congolese justice

1. (SBU) Summary: The United Nations Human Rights Office's (UNHRO)
Monthly Human Rights Assessment of the DRC for October 2007,
released November 28, 2007, describes numerous violations
highlighting the inadequacies of the country's justice system at all
levels including the police, the courts, and the prisons. This
message summarizes a number of representative cases. End Summary

2. (U) In its October Human Rights Report, UNHRO reported a
sustained pattern of human rights violations at many different
levels of society and in all regions of the DRC. Three
representative cases implicate a senior Congolese general in the
abuse of military magistrates, National Police (PNC) officers in the
harassment and illegal detention of political activists and
journalists, and prison officials in deficient prison management and
security.

3. (U) General Jean-Claude Kifwa, Commander of the 9th Military
Region and a cousin of President Kabila, and his security detail
attempted to arrest three military magistrates in Kisangani,
Orientale province on September 30, 2007. One of the magistrates
managed to escape. The soldiers stripped and severely beat the
other two in front of their families and took them to the Katele
military camp, where they were again beaten. The following day,
they put the two on public display during a military parade
organized by Kifwa. When released, the victims were admitted to the
hospital in serious condition, where they remained for 10 days.

4. (U) On October 2, all civilian and military magistrates in
Kisangani went on strike and signed a memorandum addressed to
President Kabila condemning the use of torture and cruel and
inhumane treatment as well as the violation of independence of the
judiciary by senior military commanders. They also called for the
suspension of General Kifwa and his subordinates and that they be
brought to justice. The strike was called off after two weeks.

5. (U) Three delegations from Kinshasa investigated the case: two
military delegations and one composed of the justice and human
rights ministers. To date, none of the groups has released a
report. General Kifwa and his security detail have not been
sanctioned. All three magistrates have resumed work. UNHRO told
poloff they had been arrested and beaten because they had objected
to two pending cases being tried in military, instead of civilian,
courts.

6. (U) On October 30, officers of the Congolese National Police
(PNC) in Kinshasa broke up a planned march organized by parties not
represented in Parliament. They had planned to march 500 meters to
deliver a memorandum to the National Assembly, but appear to have
ignored legal procedures requiring five days advance written notice
for demonstrations.

7. (U) However, according to Congolese NGO "Journalistes En Danger"
(JED), PNC officers arrested not only march organizers Gaston Dindo
and Moise Moni Dela of Jean-Pierre Bemba's former electoral platform
l'Union pour la Nation (UN), but 11 other journalists as well. JED
claimed the officers beat the journalists severely for an hour,
ostensibly for attempting to cover the event. The officers then put
them into trucks and stripped them of all their belongings. The
officers released the 11 after detaining them for an additional
hour.

8. (U) Throughout the month of October, there were mass escapes from
prisons and holding cells in many areas of the DRC, including
Katanga, Orientale, and Equateur provinces. On October 15 an
attempted escape in Buluwo, Katanga resulted in five deaths,
including three security force members, and 11 wounded. The escape
and subsequent violence were triggered by a decision by the Acting
Deputy Director of the prison to provide the PNC and FARDC prison
guards with food from the inmates' food stocks, which had been
donated by the governor. On October 16-17 a group of 14 inmates
escaped from Mahagi Central Prison in Orientale. In Gemena,
Orientale 10 men escaped from the local prison October 17-18. On
October 21-22, ten suspects escaped from a PNC holding cell in
Thedeja, Orientale. Five inmates escaped from Gbadolite Central
Prison in Equateur during the period October 16-22.

9. (SBU) Comment: The weakness of the Congolese justice system at
all levels means few individuals are held accountable for their
actions. This impunity is a prime contributing factor to continued
human rights violations. Without the political will to hold
individuals to account, this situation is likely to continue. End
Comment.

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